Live: Panic At The Disco at Purdue University

Thursday night brought a strange combination to West Lafayette: Panic! at the Disco, plus a seated venue. Purdue University’s Elliott Hall welcomed these pop-rockers, along with opener Lolo, as part of a four-day concert blitz leading up to Record Store Day. The producers and band were thrilled to sell out the largest ticketed venue on campus, and a good portion of the audience consisted of non-Purdue attendees. Although the personal space each concert goer had seemed to conflict with the typical Panic! experience, it’s obvious that the show was a hugely memorable experience for everyone involved. It’s never been an enigma as to why Panic! sells out shows, and their performance at Purdue certainly served as a reminder that “legends never die.” It’s fair to say not many audience members were all that familiar with Lolo’s music—everyone knew the song she collaborated with P!ATD on, “Miss Jackson,” but she proved to be capable of much more. Striding out in a massive fur coat, she owned the stage and commanded attention. Her voice is not “nice” or “pretty,” it’s gritty and explosive—picture a less-southern Elle King. Her set didn’t seem as though it was necessarily all that congruous with the main act’s style, but hearing her do the vocals for “Miss Jackson” live (as opposed to the track they typically play over when she doesn’t join Panic! on tour) made the mood-change worth it. The set list for Panic! was ingeniously designed, and kicking off the show with “Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time” was a brilliant move. Because the band alternated older, classic songs with newer tracks, both veteran and recently added fans were engaged for the whole show. Brendon Urie is essentially the face of the band, because, well, look at his face. So when he explained to the crowd that he was just recovering from being bedridden, it probably should have been concerning. But if you ever want to feel bad about yourself for not going into work for feeling gross, watch some videos from the show. If he’s doing that while sick, I need to get it together. Urie is an absolute fireball of perfectly theatrical energy. He puts just enough variation from the tracks in the live show to make it interesting, while making it recognizable. Although he occasionally took a break to cough up a phlegm glob, I don’t think anyone would have guessed he was under the weather. When Lolo joined Panic! to do “Miss Jackson”—just, oh, my God. For me, personally, it was my first time seeing her live with them, and it was absolutely phenomenal. “Miss Jackson” is a forceful song, with the potential for some serious raging. This was one of the tracks where the venue was less than ideal, because I felt uncomfortable dancing like an idiot where everyone could see me (although it didn’t stop me). Brendon back flipping after the silent few measures was perhaps one of the most intense moments of the show. What is a Panic! review without a highlight of their “Bohemian Rhapsody” cover? A crowd pleaser for years, it’s likely never been on the chopping block when it’s time to decide what makes it into the set list. Panic! has very powerful, consuming songs that frankly, take a lot of energy out of you. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a perfect way to cut the angsty tension in the interest of just having some fun. Panic! at the Disco deserves some recognition for their wonderful theatricality. Their songs are dramatic, and Urie’s facial features, gestures, and movements add an entirely new dimension. His voice is perfect for the kind of seriousness the songs require. If you missed this spectacular show, fear not! Panic! is coming back for the Alt-103 Birthday Bash with Weezer and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. Their live shows are just destined to be a fun time, even if you aren’t a super-fan. Panic! loves Indy, and Indy loves Panic!, and it isn’t a “Casual Affair.” -Kelly Fox Click here for photos of both bands